What do you call the nephew of your adoptive father? Is there a specific word for it? I forgot how we call them, would it be half-nephew? Because I thought half-nephew is used if your mother divorced your dad, and another dad came in and had a nephew.

1 Answer 1


Your father's nephew would be your cousin.

So your adoptive father's nephew could perhaps be referred to as your "adoptive cousin". But this man's nephew will still always be his nephew (regardless of his relationship to you), so the term "half-nephew" should not enter into the discussion at all.

For most everyday purposes, adoptive families usually function like other families, so I think in regular conversation you would normally say your adoptive father's nephew was "your cousin" and leave it at that.

Unless you are really getting technical and doing a genealogical analysis, the word "cousin" is often used loosely anyway. There are precise words for different types of cousin ("second-cousin", "cousin once removed", etc.), but most people don't really know what those terms mean. Sometimes "cousin" can refer to your cousin's cousin, or your uncle's cousin, or even the children of very close family friends, so it shouldn't be too far fetched to extend the cousin-relationship to adopted members of the family.

If it was important to distinguish between genetically related cousins and adoptive ones, you would probably use "adoptive cousin", but otherwise just plain "cousin" ought to take care of it.

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    I agree with everything you said except "adoptive cousin." This to me sounds like it's the cousin who was adopted (by the father's brother or sister). Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 4:16
  • @aparente001 Are you sure you aren't confusing adoptive cousin with adopted cousin? (Granted, adoptive has two different senses—but one of them is the intended sense.) Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 16:43
  • @JasonBassford - I guess I can see your point of view. But what complicates this is who did the adopting. The main character in this story didn't do the adopting. But this is kind of tangential here. Maybe you'd like to ask about this on ELU and get more opinions? Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 18:55

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